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Volunteer divers to clear Halkidiki seahorse habitat of ghost nets

TAGS: Environment, Initiative

Volunteer divers are set to clean up a reef that is an important habitat for Greece's dwindling seahorse population, off the coast of northern Greece's Halkidiki peninsula, clearing it of “ghost nets” abandoned by fishermen.

According to a report in the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, the three-day diving initiative off the coast of Stratoni is scheduled to take place between November 3 and 5 and has been organized by Ghost Fishing Greece and Healthy Seas, with the participation of the local community and three diving teams.

The specific reef is home to an abundance of fish and marine life, the ANA-MPA said, which is at risk from the large number of abandoned fishing nets draping the reef.

“One of the underwater targets of the mission are the Eleftherides islets, where one of the very few colonies of seahorses currently living in Greek waters was discovered,” Healthy Seas representative Jenny Ioannou told the ANA-MPA.

She added that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has also warned of the Mediterranean's seahorse population being at risk of extinction as a result of dangerous fishing practices.

Experts estimate that there are roughly 640,000 tons of abandoned nets in the world's seas, creating deadly traps for millions of sea creatures such as sharks, dolphins, seals and turtles.

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